Sports Destination Management, the leading publication with the largest circulation of sports event planners and tournament directors in the sports tourism market, has announced the 2018 Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism. Among the winners was The Honda Classic, produced with support from the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
Propelled by the return of Tiger Woods, which fueled a massive turnout and the drama of a Sunday playoff won by World No. 3 Justin Thomas, the 2018 Honda Classic shattered its attendance record.
This PGA TOUR event attracted 224,642 confirmed spectators over seven days of perfect weather and tense competition spanning from the Monday Pro-Am to Sunday's final round, a 10 percent increase over the 203,815 fans who attended in 2017.
The modern-day attendance dwarfs the number of fans (83,500) who attended The Honda Classic in 2007 when it moved to PGA National Resort & Spa. The tournament broke the 100,000 barrier in 2010.
“Having Tiger Woods back in The Honda Classic competing against so many other great players led the way to another tremendous event highlighted by our local Champion in Justin Thomas,” Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth R. Kennerly said. “The energy level at the tournament was at an all-time high, and it was so rewarding to see everyone having such a great time.
"We have worked hard to attract a diverse spectator base and were thrilled to see this strategy pay off in the way the community supported this year's tournament. It was just an incredible week of golf and fun. We look forward to more great events in the years to come so that we can continue to grow upon the impact that we make in this community through our Honda Classic Cares initiative and our charitable giving."
The Honda Classic will award a record-shattering $4.55 million to South Florida children's charities in 2018, the 12th consecutive year the PGA TOUR event has been able to increase its impact on the lives of local children and their families. More than 50,000 children and their families who are affiliated with 137 charitable organizations in the Palm Beach County area will benefit in 2018 from the proceeds of the Honda Classic Cares initiative.
The 2019 Honda Classic will be played February 25-March 3, 2019 at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is proud to support such an amazing event as The Honda Classic, which makes a major impact regionally, nationally, and internationally. The tournament provides PGA TOUR excitement to incoming visitors and Palm Beach County residents alike. This tournament provides a major boost to The Palm Beaches local economy. Fans, media, sponsors, and the players generated over 9,200 nightly hotel room bookings and over $40 million of direct visitor spending. Palm Beach County is showcased world-wide as The Honda Classic is televised live on Golf Channel and NBC and is internationally distributed to 250 countries, with a potential reach that exceeds 800 million households.
“Palm Beach County is so very proud to host The Honda Classic, which is now recognized as Sports Destination’s Management Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism”, remarked George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. “This event creates immense economic benefits for The Palm Beaches while improving quality of life for our local community. As one of the premier events on the PGA TOUR, The Honda Classic creates an economic impact that is unrivaled by most sports events and significantly enhances tourism for Palm Beach County’s hospitality industry. Moreover, The Honda Classic has given nearly $40 million to South Florida children's charities since its inception. This recognition, by one of the leading media sources in sports, demonstrates the growth, reach, and positive influence The Honda Classic brings to Palm Beach County. Being recognized as the best in sports for 2018 is quite impressive, especially considering that 2018 brought us some of the greatest moments in amateur and professional sports in great cities across the nation and this past year represents a record setting year for sports tourism in the United States.” The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is privileged to be a partner with this one-of-a-kind sports event.”
All winners of awards have been recognized in a special feature published in the November/December 2018 issue of Sports Destination Management. The entire article with full details on the winners listed below can also be found online along with a special feature on economic impact.
About Palm Beach County Sports Commission
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is a private, not-for-profit organization contracted by Palm Beach County to promote and market the County as a sports and sports tourism destination. The Commission brings sporting events and activities to the County, enhances economic impact, stimulates bed tax revenues (primarily in the off-season), and maximizes utilization of County facilities. The Commission offers a full range of event service support, corporate partnerships, sponsorships and a local membership program that support its goals. Local, regional, national and international marketing efforts are ongoing by the Commission with sports organizations and event owners. The Commission also produces sports-related programs for the residents of Palm Beach County including the annual Lou Groza Award program, the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame and the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches. For more information on the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, go to www.palmbeachsports.com.
The Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl, which is scheduled for Tuesday, December 18, will take place at FAU Stadium, located on the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, for the fifth consecutive year. The game will be televised live on ESPN at 7 p.m. Palm Beach County is one of only 35 communities throughout the United States that hosts a NCAA FBS-sanctioned bowl game.
The Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl has tie-ins with teams from Conference USA, the American Athletic Conference (AAC), and the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The 2018 game will invite teams from the American Athletic Conference (AAC) and Conference USA. Palm Beach County’s bowl game has built an impressive resume in a short period of time. During the past four (4) years, this bowl game has featured four (4) conference champions.
The Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl is one of 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports. This game represents one of the largest attended collegiate sports event occurring annually in Palm Beach County.
The Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl generates significant media exposure for Palm Beach County. In 2017, more than 1.3 million households had their eyes set on The Palm Beaches for 3 ½ hours as Florida Atlantic University defeated the Akron Zips. Most impressively, ESPN’s broadcast of this game was the number one sports program of the night and received higher ratings than any other pre-Christmas bowl game on cable.
Palm Beach County Sports Commission will partner to host FITTEAM Palm Beaches Marathon on Friday, November 30th – Sunday, December 2nd, 2018. The races will start and finish near the Meyer Amphitheatre on Flagler Drive. The Fitness Expo will be held in downtown West Palm Beach at City Place. The race is estimated to include over 4,000 runners, with one-third coming from out of Palm Beach County. The marathon will serve as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. As part of the title sponsorship with FITTEAM, they will host their quarterly meeting to coincide with the marathon weekend, with 400-500 attendees expected.
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission partnered with PGA National Resort & Spa to host the “Little Mo” Internationals in Palm Beach Gardens on Friday, November 30th through December 5th. This prestigious event featured over 430 players from 31 different countries including Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Estonia, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and 20 states across the USA!
“Little Mo” Internationals is one of the premier junior tournaments for talented, high performance boys and girls (ages 8-12) in addition to the “Big Mo” division for ages 13-16. The “Little Mo” is unique because it gives youngsters the opportunity to improve their ability against other players born in the same year from around the world. The events are designed to provide phenomenal competition while also inspiring young players to develop new friendships, exhibit good sportsmanship, and most importantly have fun. Maureen Connolly was known for her powerful groundstrokes, but more importantly for her impeccable sportsmanship. This flagship event is for international players bringing together the brightest and youngest stars across the United States and worldwide.
The festivities started with a complimentary tennis clinic hosted by Johan Kriek, two-time Australian Open champion from South Africa. The fantastic opening ceremony was on Friday, November 30th with the players parading onto the stadium court carrying country flags. For more information on this tournament, please visit this website www.mcbtennis.org and click on tournaments.